Failed relationships happen to all of us. At worst, they make us feel like fuck-ups; at best, they make us grateful we dodged a bullet. Either way, they’re integral parts of our personal growth – key milestones en route to becoming the independent and emotionally intelligent adults we imagine ourselves to be.

So if you’re hurting in any way, you just got schooled! Take a minute to review what you learned, and pat your bad self on the back, because you just did some serious work. Here are five things failed relationships teach us that you can’t learn anywhere else:

  1. You Know What You Don’t Want

A failed relationship will show you first-hand what you don’t want – in a partner, in a relationship dynamic, in a lifestyle. This is a piece of experiential knowledge you’ll never unlearn, and it’s equally as important as knowing what you do want. When we can stay wise to the flags and indicators our intuition is stocked with, we can make more aligned choices.

  1. You Can’t Really Lie

To yourself or anyone. If you were trying to keep up a lie in any way in your relationship, its destruction will prove the truth coming out was inevitable. BUT as awful as it feels when a lie crumbles before our eyes, we get to see clearly how we “built it.” A crumbled dream leaves us with a clear view of our expectations and our assumptions. We can see exactly how the blueprint we had a part in creating was faulty.

  1. Bottom Line: You Complete You

We can enjoy our partner’s company, and they can enrich our lives and expand our minds, but they can’t, by any stretch of the imagination, “complete us.” If you’re hoping your partner will give you anything more than their companionship, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Humans will only ever be humans. Weird, interesting, smelly humans.

  1. Boundaries Are Important

Even if you’re super in love, you can’t spend all your time together. We all need “me” time. We all need personal space. It’s up to each of us to know and own our personal boundaries. Kellevision explains super simply what boundaries are: “Personal boundaries are the limits we set in relationships that allow us to protect ourselves from being manipulated by emotionally needy others. Healthy boundaries eliminate the need for blaming or scapegoating.” It’s our responsibility to know our limits and bring them to the relationship.

  1. You Can’t Change (Or Save) Anyone

If someone enters a relationship with deep insecurity issues, or an anger or substance abuse problem, no one can “change” them. You can set a good example for them, but real transformation – the kind that truly sticks – happens as a result of a deep personal desire to change. That’s the only way.

Above all, a failed relationship is an opportunity to redefine your idea of what you really, truly want and understand how you can bring more love into your life. Use your newfound perspective to realign and cut out what doesn’t serve you.